Pay for your groceries in the future by waving your iPhone or iPad

Could you carry around your iPad or iPhone instead of cash or credit cards?

It seems that the latest rumours circulating around the upcoming iPad 2 is that it may contain an NFC chip.

What’s NFC?

NFC stands for “Near Field Communication” – basically a technology that will allow an electronic device to communicate wirelessly with other electronic devices – yes like RFID, Infrared, Wifi or Bluetooth, but with less range, faster and less complicated setup and compatible with existing RFID.   NFC is a technology primarily for mobile phones, and people are hoping that in the future, you could use NFC devices to pay for stuff, validating tickets for concerts, or interactions with electronic posters.

So, imagine this – if your iPhone 5 or iPad 2 had an NFC chip, and Coles or Woolies supportd it, and your bank supports it – you could just wave your iPhone or iPad in front of some scanning machine and PAY for your groceries!  No cash or card required.

Well, to me, it would seem totally impractical to carry around your iPad in your pocket just to pay for groceries.  Using your mobile phone seems to make a lot of sense though – I carry mine everywhere. 

But like many things – Apple are a little behind the ballgame here.  It seems that Nokia has already rolled out an NFC enabled phone in 2008 (http://www.engadget.com/2009/04/09/visa-rolls-out-its-first-commercial-nfc-payment-system/).  However, with the market share of iPhones and iPads, if Apple picks it up and promotes this, I’m sure most other mobile phone manufacturers will have to follow suit, and this could kickstart new trends.

For me, I’m most worried about the safety and security of the system.

What happens if you lose your phone?  How quickly can you cancel payments from it?

Could someone create another NFC device that could steal money from you electronically and wirelessly by just placing it next to your phone/pocket without knowing?

If it’s secure and safe, it’d be great to replace EFTPOS with this – imagine paying buying movie tickets online then just passing your phone over some sensor at the movies to get in, or paying for petrol or groceries with your phone?

Would you use something like this if it was available and safe and secure?

More here:
http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/28/apple-job-posts-point-to-built-in-nfc-capabilities-for-ipad-ip/

http://www.eetasia.com/ARTICLES/2006MAY/PDF/EEOL_2006MAY01_STECH_RFD_TA.pdf?SOURCES=DOWNLOAD

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near_field_communication

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3 thoughts on “Pay for your groceries in the future by waving your iPhone or iPad”

  1. This would be an incredible application. I am always losing my debit card and getting it replaced. The best free app I have found is with my employee Dish Network subscription. It’s great to watch over 200 channels in High Definition channels.

    1. Nancy – yes it would be quite useful! Technology has moved so fast, sometimes I’m really excited in anticipation of how we’ll be using phones, etc in 10-20 years time.

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